A day off — or more accurately, hours off in a day — and Koko and I are heading to the water, dodging cars on the bumpy back roads, traveling through rain, the mountains gray, mysterious looking. But it’s blue on the horizon, where we’re going, with waters that are white-tipped, roughened by a wind swell.
At the beach, into the clear greenness of the sea, iwa cruising high, over the land, nene flying low, directly overhead, squall forming on the horizon, blowing north, missing us, another forming and not, and so drenching us, but I don't mind because I am wet already.
Returning home, I run a roadside gauntlet of tiny home-made wooden figures painted in fluorescent yellow-orange and warning, in bold black letters, KIDS AT PLAY and SLOW 4 KIDS and so I do and in the process notice that I am noticing them, and am aware that I don’t always, even though they’re relatively new to that spot, and glaring.
A number of things have caught my attention recently, caused me to slow down and take notice , like the troubling piece in Time Magazine about how the cops are starting to go after people who videotape them:
Even if these cases do not hold up in court, the police can do a lot of damage just by threatening to arrest and prosecute people. "We see a fair amount of intimidation - police saying, 'You can't do that. It's illegal,'" says Christopher Calabrese, a lawyer with the ACLU's Washington office. It discourages people from filming, he says, even when they have the right to film.
And disturbing accounts of the way the U.S. government and others are stepping up attacks on Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Larry Geller has a good wrap up at Disappeared News, while Democracy Now! broadcast an interview with Assange, in which he responded to calls that the American government should hunt him down by any means:
What [Marc] Thiessen is saying is that US forces would enter European territory without—illegally and conduct an illegal act, like they did in Italy, kidnapping some al-Qaeda. But disturbing to me is to see these references to deal with journalists that were previously done to al-Qaeda.
A friend noticed an article on a new study showing that high fructose corn syrup helps feed cancer cells. Pepsi (or almost any processed food), anyone?
And I took note of a thoughtful New Yorker piece that exposed a lot of the scaremongering about illegal immigration for exactly what it is.
I also noticed a lot of stuff while writing yesterday’s post on the Kauapea capers of Justin and Michele Hughes, like how often the same names pop up in accounts of land misdoings on Kauai, and how long it takes to finally bring an enforcement action to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and the kind of utter bullshit that’s fed to the enforcement officers, and what manini fines violators get, especially in light of the tremendous value gained, and how people always think that developers just do what they want and pay the fines, but in reality, they just do what they want and fight the fines.
All the while I kept recalling the words that a local friend spoke more than two decades ago in explaining why he had such disdain for people like the Hugheses: “They take up space, use up resources and move on.” To which I might add, and really fuck things up while they’re at it.
Which leads us to the vacation rental ordinance, Bill 2364 which today was sent over to the mayor, who has 10 days to act. Meanwhile, signatures are being added to an on-line petition urging him to veto. Will he? I’ve had some folks say he wants this bill, and others say he wants to distance himself from it. Time will tell.
I did notice a lot of local names on the petition, and that’s a good thing, because in Kauai politics, just in case you haven’t noticed, the opinion of 10 haoles carries the same weight as one local.